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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:African countries' political independence at fifty: in search of democracy, peace and social justice
Author:Muiu, Mueni waISNI
Periodical:African and Asian Studies (ISSN 1569-2094)
Geographic term:Africa
social justice
economic development
political change
capacity building
Abstract:What lessons can we draw from the past fifty years of political independence in African countries? Which mistakes can we avoid in the future? Can there be peace without social justice? Four mistakes must be avoided if democracy, peace and social justice are to be achieved in African countries. Drawing on lessons from Central, East, North, West and Southern Africa, the author uses Fundi wa Africa - a multidisciplinary approach based on a long term historical perspective - to argue that individual nationhood (the first mistake) has not resulted in democracy and peace. Only Pan-Africanism (based on the needs and interests of Africans as they define them) will lead to democracy and peace. The second mistake is that leading international financial institutions (IFI) and some Africans assume that democracy has to be introduced to Africa. This assumption is based on the belief that Africans and their culture have nothing to contribute to their own development. As a result liberal democracy is promoted by these agencies as the only option available for African countries. The third mistake is the belief that a colonial state which was developed to fulfill the market and labour needs of colonial powers can lead to democracy and peace for Africans. The fourth mistake is African leaders' and their supporters' conviction that neither African intellectuals nor women have any place in African development and may only be given symbolic positions. Without economic independence, the political gains of the past fifty years will be lost. The founding fathers and mothers of Africa's freedom fought and achieved political independence, but it is up to the next generation to strive for economic empowerment. Only then will African countries cease to be homes for bankrupt ideas as they are freed from conflict and hunger. Bibliogr., sum. [Journal abstract]